Legislative Inspector General’s Resignation Highlights Ethics Bill’s Failures

Governor Pritzker should use his amendatory veto power to demand stronger measures

Yesterday, Carol Pope announced she was resigning as Illinois’ Legislative Inspector General, the position charged with investigating ethics violations in the General Assembly.

Citing the legislature’s lack of commitment to “true ethics reform,” Pope said the ILGA had failed to deliver the changes necessary for her to do her job. Without those changes, she said her office is a “paper tiger” with “no real power to effect change or shine a light on ethics violations.” 

Every person who has held the Legislative Inspector General position has made the same complaints, asserting that current rules allow legislators to hamper or hide investigations into their friends and colleagues. The legislature has ignored calls to strengthen the office for years.

Establishing truly independent oversight of the General Assembly has never been more important, with recent corruption scandals further damaging the already frayed trust between the people of Illinois and their government.

Yet despite promises from Governor Pritzker and legislative leaders to deliver meaningful ethics reform, the bill that emerged from this year’s session was full of half measures that do not give Illinoisans the change they deserve.

Governor Pritzker has said he wanted more from the legislature, and he has still not signed the bill. If the governor is serious about bringing accountability to Springfield, he should use his amendatory veto power to demand better for the people of Illinois. 

Inspector General Pope is a dedicated and talented public servant who worked hard to make her office independent and effective. Her resignation is a loss for our state. We hope it will serve as a wake-up call to policymakers and the public that the fight for real ethics reform is far from over.


Read RFI Executive Director Alisa Kaplan’s testimony about how to strengthen the Legislative Inspector General’s office.

Contact Governor Pritzker’s office to call for an amendatory veto of SB539, the ethics omnibus bill recently passed by the legislature.


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